Now, with the world’s largest martial arts organization beginning to resume its 2020 calendar of events, Schiavello is salivating at the thought of several incredible dream match-ups that could go down.
In his own words, here are five super-bouts “The Voice” wants to see.
Giorgio Petrosyan Vs. Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong
“For years, the kickboxing world has talked about who’s the best kickboxer on the planet. These two names always come to the forefront in the debates. With Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong now signed to ONE Super Series, this is the match that has to happen.
“By signing Sitthichai, we are pretty much saying to the watching world that we are the premier striking organization on the planet. We have all the best guys, particularly at the lighter weight classes.
“Whenever you talk to people over the last 15 years – pretty much, since K-1 World Max came about – about who is the best kickboxer on the planet, endurably, there are three names that people have banded around: Giorgio Petrosyan, Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong, and Buakaw Banchamek.
“Now that we have signed Sitthichai, I want to see Sitthichai versus Petrosyan. I want to see it determined, once and for all, under ONE Super Series kickboxing rules, who is the best kickboxer on the planet. And I do not want to see it over three rounds – but five rounds.
“It doesn’t need to be for a title. It just needs to be hyped up and built up for what it is, which is to determine who the best kickboxer on the planet is.”
Giorgio Petrosyan Vs. Buakaw Banchamek
“The two mega names in kickboxing over the last 15 years have been Petrosyan and Buakaw. They fought once before, and it was a controversial draw. These two need to fight again. Petrosyan is still facing the best in the world and beating them. Buakaw is 18-2 in his last 20 fights, but he is competing against nowhere near the level of competition Petrosyan is.
“They are both K-1 World Max Champions, so it’s about time the world finally got to see the rematch we should have seen years ago.
“But I do wonder – and I’ll put this out there – if Buakaw is ducking Petrosyan. Why has he never given Petrosyan a rematch? It can’t be because of money, because I know for a fact that a lot of serious money has been thrown around to match him up with Petrosyan again. And if it’s not about money, then it could only be about two things: the rule set or ducking him.
“In regards to the rule set, Buakaw has proven himself as a kickboxer. As I said, he is a two-time K-1 World Max Champion – the same as Petrosyan – so it can’t be about the rule set. So, it has to be about avoiding Petrosyan and perhaps knowing that a loss to Petrosyan could taint his reputation.
“But you know what? A loss to Floyd Mayweather didn’t taint the reputation of Manny Pacquiao as one of the all-time great boxers. At least Pacquiao gave us a chance to see what could happen. Sure, Pacquiao was a little bit past his prime when they fought each other, and this would be different because Buakaw and Petrosyan are both at similar stages in their careers. Neither is past their prime, so I think we need this one.
“I think Buakaw needs to come to ONE if he wants to show he is still one of the best kickboxers on the planet, he needs to fight the man who is regarded as the best – in my opinion – on the planet, and he needs to be in the best league on the planet. It’s as simple as that.”
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Aung La N Sang Vs. Brandon Vera II – At Heavyweight
“Now, I know Aung La N Sang has said he wants to stay at middleweight and light heavyweight, but I want to see this fight at heavyweight. I think this could be where we see our first-ever three-division World Champion.
“It would be Brandon Vera competing at his more comfortable weight class, and Aung La N Sang being tested by a larger and faster opponent.
“There are so many questions to be asked of this match-up, and I would love to get some answers to those questions!
“We know Aung La N Sang had Vera’s number at light heavyweight, but do the same power, same volume, and same quantity translate to heavyweight? I’d really love to see that question answered.
“Aung La N Sang has said he doesn’t want to go up another weight class, but I think everyone would love to see them throw down again. They had the biggest match in 2019 – the biggest match in ONE Championship history.
“To see it at heavyweight, and see maybe the first-ever three-division World Champion, would be historic. If there is one person who could do it, I think it could be Aung La N Sang.”
Angela Lee Vs. Xiong Jing Nan III – At A Catch Weight
“Angela Lee came out in the past couple of days and basically said, “Who wants to see me fight Xiong Jing Nan at strawweight for the title?” I’d love to see it at any weight class, to be honest with you, but catch weight is what really intrigues me. Let’s not put a title on the line. Let’s go in the middle – between atomweight and strawweight – and determine who is the best.
“Or, if you want to go left field, then put both titles up. Put the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Title and the ONE Women’s Strawweight World Title on the line at a catch weight. It would be a final trilogy match in what has been one of the most epic rivalries in ONE Championship history.
“Both matches so far have been phenomenal. You could not have scripted them in a Hollywood movie. They’ve had twists, they’ve had turns, they’ve had shock endings and a lot of hype. The back-and-forth action between the two of these athletes has been amazing.
“Lee is still ‘Unstoppable’ and undefeated at atomweight. Xiong has been a rampaging machine at strawweight, and she has been untouchable in that weight class. So, let’s see them at a catch weight and put both titles on the line. They should meet halfway at the center point. It would be extraordinary!”
Demetrious Johnson Vs. Henry Cejudo III
“Henry Cejudo lost the first match by TKO, and he won the second match by split decision, some would say controversially.
“Now, Cejudo has said he is retired from mixed martial arts, but is he truly retired? Could he be convinced to leave retirement, sign with ONE Championship, and complete a trilogy match with his greatest rival of all time?
“Demetrious Johnson has found a new lease on life since joining ONE Championship, and he has had some of his toughest tests to date. But we have also seen Johnson evolve more than we have ever seen him evolve before, and he is faster than ever before. All of that makes him scarier than ever before.
“His striking and his striking defense have improved measurably, and his ingenuity and inventiveness have also improved. I’d love to see him bring everything he has learned and improved upon into a trilogy match with Cejudo.
“Also, Cejudo has never fought outside of North America, so why not take the personal challenge to fight in the spiritual epicenter of martial arts? To fight in Asia, preferably in Japan, in an organization where his talents would be ultra appreciated, and against Johnson would be exciting.
“As I said, they are 1-1 against each other, so let’s do a deciding match. Let’s bring Cejudo over, let’s get him in ONE Championship, and let’s complete this trilogy!”
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